Review: Recall that Paul began this letter blessing God “who comforts us in all our affliction” (2Co 1:3-4). What afflictions had Paul experienced? See 2Co 1:8-9, 2:4,12-13, 4:8-12. How had God comforted him in the midst of those afflictions? See 2Co 2:5-11,14. How does the glory of the New Covenant from chapter 3 and the treasure in earthen vessels from chapter 4 relate to God’s comfort to Paul in the midst of his afflictions? See 2Co 4:1,16.
2Co 5:1-4 In the previous verses Paul said he did not lose heart in the midst of his afflictions, even though his outer man was decaying. Why did he say there that he did not lose heart? See 2Co 4:16-17. What truth found here in 2Co 5:1-4 comforted Paul as he experienced his mortal body wasting away because of his physical afflictions? How should the same truth comfort us as we experience the disassembling of our earthly tent? What word does Paul use in 2Co 5:3 to describe our state here on earth in our mortal flesh? How does this relate to man’s fallen state? See Genesis 3:7-10.
2Co 5:5-8 How could Paul be so confident in the midst of all his afflictions that God had prepared him for that very purpose, that his sufferings were not because he had gotten it wrong and he was actually suffering as a transgressor of God’s will (see 1 Pet 2:20, 4:15-16), and that with the decay of his mortal flesh he would in fact be clothed with eternal life? See 2Co 5:5. What additional truth in 2Co 5:6-8 comforted Paul in the midst of his afflictions? What do these verses teach us about what happens to a Christian’s soul when he dies, and the notion held by some that upon physical death the soul sleeps in the grave along with one’s body?
Note: The Greek words used in 2Co 5:6 and 8 indicate that man’s original state was to be both at home in his physical body and at home with the Lord, i.e., in the continual presence of His fellowship. With man’s fall into sin, he was separated from being at home with the Lord as he died spiritually, and upon physical death shall also be separated from being at home in his physical body. However, for a Christian, physical death does not result in his final separation with all that is life, but is the next step towards complete redemption as he goes to be at home in the presence of the Lord. Then, when Christ returns, the natural state for which he was created shall finally be completely restored as his soul is reunited with his resurrection body, so that he will once again be at home both in his physical body and with the Lord. See also 1 Thess 4:14-17.
2Co 5:9-10 For what reasons from 2Co 5:1-8 does Paul say we should seek to be pleasing to God? For what reason from 2Co 5:10 does he say we should seek to be pleasing to God? Should our lives now when we are absent from our home with the Lord be different from what we expect our lives will be when we are at home with the Lord? See 2Co 5:9. On what basis will a person be judged by Christ? See 2Co 5:10, Romans 2:4-8.
2Co 5:11-13 Recall that Paul has been defending himself against some in Corinth who were challenging his apostolic authority. They were accusing him of being overly zealous—a religious nut—and having no right to teach with the boldness and authority he did (see 2Co 1:12, 2:17, 3:1,5,12, 4:2,13). How does he answer these accusations in these verses, and why does he say he is so bold to persuade men with the gospel message? Should the same reason also motivate us to persuade men with the gospel? Note: “beside ourselves” in 2Co 5:13 is from the Greek word from which we get our “ecstatic”, and refers to the accusation that he was a religious fanatic who was out of his mind; see also Acts 26:24-25. What is the ultimate difference between a true servant of God and a false servant? See 2Co 5:12.
2Co 5:14-17 Besides the fear of the Lord, what else motivated Paul’s bold and fearless proclamation of the gospel truth? See 2Co 5:14. What conclusion does he draw in 2Co 5:15 about the claim Christ has upon the lives of those for whom He died? See also 1 Cor 6:19-20. What is Paul’s point in 2Co 5:16? See again 2Co 5:12, and recall that those who consistently challenged Paul’s authority were the Judaizers who took pride in outward appearance, recognized men by who they were in the flesh, and were thus offended by Paul’s gospel that so freely included the Gentiles. See also Gal 6:13, Phil 3:3. What does 2Co 5:17 teach us about class distinctions for those who are in Christ? Were those who were arguing the importance of those distinctions controlled by the love of Christ as Paul was?
2Co 5:18-21 What is Paul’s final answer found in these verses for why he was so motivated to boldly proclaim the truths of the gospel? See 2Co 5:18,20. What is the ministry of reconciliation? See 2Co 5:19. On what basis is God able to not count men’s trespasses against them and still be just? See 2Co 5:21a. For what end has God reconciled us? See 2Co 5:21b. What is an ambassador? I.e., what does he do and who does he represent? See 2Co 6:1a. Although an ambassador makes his home in a foreign country, is he a citizen of that country? As ambassadors for Christ, how should we view our home in this world?